HAYWARD (AP) – Anglers looking to start the upcoming fishing season in northern Wisconsin will find some popular lakes still covered in ice.
The inland fishing season opener starts next Saturday, and there are still as much as 15 inches of ice on some northern lakes, State Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Manager Bob Hujik tells Wisconsin Public Radio.
“Hayward was the line,” said Hujik. “From Hayward north, there’s still snow in the woods and there’s a fair amount of ice on the lakes.”
The Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest has even delayed opening its campgrounds and hiking trails due to deep snow.
Dennis Wystedt, who works at Hayward’s Bait and Bottle Shoppe, says people are still ice fishing.
“It definitely affects the business, because we get phone calls from people from out of town and they’ll ask, ‘Does Round Lake have ice on it?'” he said. “Well, when we tell them yes, then they delay their trip up here.”
Cable Area Chamber of Commerce Director James Bolen said last spring had a slow start but by late May hotel room tax collections were up 12 percent.
“So once the conditions did allow people to get up here, they were so cooped up they wanted to get here as badly as we wanted them here and so they came in much larger numbers,” Bolen said. “So, obviously that’s what we’re hoping happens.”
The Governor’s Fishing Opener is still on for next weekend on Balsam Lake in Polk County.